Sarbanes Highlights Dangers of High-Dose Opioids

At a House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) highlighted the dangers of high-dose opioids and called for federal action to limit access to these addictive and powerful drugs.

“We know that many states such as Virginia, Maine, and Rhode Island have set prescribing limits for opioids,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in their recommendations, has indicated that providers should avoid prescribing over 90 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) a day…. There are a lot of products on the market – especially extended release and long-acting opioid products – that do exceed that, even 90 MME a day limit and some of them even double or triple that limit.”

Sarbanes continued: “Given the CDC recommendations, state precedent on prescribing limits and the lack of existing action, it may be time for FDA, or Congress, or both of us to explore options for limiting the market availability of high-dose opioid products that are currently on the market and limiting these new high-dose products, restraining them from entering the market in the future.”

Sarbanes concluded: “I look forward to exploring a wide array of solutions to combating the opioid crisis and make sure states have the funding and flexibility to support these affected communities.”